This Is What Gentrification in Ocean Beach Is All About – Condos for the 1% – Just $9,500 a Month

by on May 26, 2015 · 57 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, Ocean Beach

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt least one of the brand new 2 story condos within the Saratoga Street project at Abbott and Saratoga that just opened recently proves what gentrification in OB is all about.

Zillow is running an ad right now for one of those condos, letting a 3 bedroom rental go for just $9,500 a month.

What a steal!

OB Saratoga 9500mon zillowHere’s part of the ad:

Two story, fully furnished, ocean front town-homes for rent.
Available for 9 month term only, from Sept 8, 2015 to May 31, 2016
Monthly Rental Rates for Short Term Leases:
$9,500 per month– 3 bedroom/3bath

Veer Living, where modern architecture and sophisticated interior design converge in a one-of-a kind oceanfront property. Relax and unwind with unobstructed 180 degree beachfront views. No need to worry about packing and unpacking for your next stay.

Located in Ocean Beach, San Diego is where you’ll find your next home destination. This fully furnished two story townhome could be yours starting September 8, 2015 – May 31, 2016. This 3 bedroom, 3 bath home also features up to 350 square feet of private, ocean front patio/outdoor living room.

Pet friendly community, NO AGGRESSIVE BREEDS.

The reason this ad displays class gentrification is because the former residents of the units that were demolished at this site to allow for the construction of the 10-unit condo complex could definitely not afford these units for anything like $9500 a month. And neither could the vast majority of OBceans.

These units will usher in a population that can afford such steep prices for their roof, altering the socio-economic make-up of the community.

Now, no one defends those old, dilapidated structures (one of which was the original “Hodad’s” building) that were torn down a few years ago to make way for the new building. You can support their demolition and at the same time wish that more affordable units had been built. These that were built are unaffordable to 99% of OB residents.

Ocean Beach has historically been a working-class community – one of the last on the coast that was affordable to working people, retired and students. But with additions like these, OB becomes the beachfront community for the 1% of the San Diegans who sleep at the top of the heap. With 180 degree views.

This is what gentrification is all about for Ocean Beach.

(hat tip to Deb G)

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

mjt May 26, 2015 at 12:59 pm

9,500 is the off season rate, how much for June, July, and August.
There should be a special landlord tax, to drive these thieves out of business.


Geoff Page May 26, 2015 at 1:09 pm

“features up to 350 square feet of private, ocean front patio/outdoor living room.”

If any of this is on the ground level, it is the part of the land facing the ocean that the City virtually gave away to the development. And, the developers said that this land would be shared with the public but this part of the ad does not comport with that.


Donna May 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm

I lived there in 1974 when they were studio apartments for $90 a month


OB Mercy May 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Not sure if you knew that one of the unit’s patio furniture caught on fire (even FF’s didn’t know how!) and did some damage to the unit facing Abbott. I wrote about it for the Reader the other day. Here is the link.


Tyler May 26, 2015 at 2:36 pm

The question is – is anyone actually renting at that price? Both rental prices and home values have seemed to be peaking the last few months.


Todd May 26, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Born and raised in OB, live in Point Loma, San Diego Native, 4th Generation. Still here, never leaving.

OB is full of LOSERS now, Kooks from the Mid-West, back East and Dirt Bag Street Kids all over the Wall. The Hippies and Hell’s Angels are few and far between.

I’d rather have a 1% (the rich guy kind) as a neighbor than 90% of the Dorks in OB today.

They can afford to patronize our local businesses, instead of pan handing and drug dealing. Then they leave to their “second” home and OB is less crowded for a few months! Win-Win.


The Flying Meatball


Rufus May 26, 2015 at 3:30 pm

“…alternating the socio-economic make-up of the community.”

Oh come on now, I don’t know too many 1%ers who will wait in line at Hodads, or get funky at Winstons, or eat at the OB Noodle House.

But living in OB might make them chill a little bit and perhaps feel guilty.

Maybe we could set up some sort of rich person’s missionary work for people who rent these units? Instead of going to the DR or Haiti to build huts for the poor, we could have them scrape gum off the OB sidewalks, feed the trolls, or pick up poop at dog beach? At night they could attend OB Planning Board meetings or help organize Occupy protests in front of Starbucks or $15 minimum wage protests in front of Jack in the Crotch?


Frank Gormlie May 26, 2015 at 5:00 pm



John O. May 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Whoa… that is amazing. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

I can see the summer headlines now…

“Luxury Condo Owners face off with OB Drum Circles at the Greens”


john May 26, 2015 at 3:48 pm

home prices are up b/c of real low supply, purchases by rich(er) skewing the averages up, and zero interest rates which encourage the rich to buy (skewing up again), plus foreign and/or flipper investors.

it is odd that if you look in zillow, most areas have nearly the same number of foreclosures as regular for-sales which indicates we’re near the top for nearly most of buyers save for the rich, some foreign chinese investors, and the occasional lust driven loco’s.

not surprised that builders/developers are pursuing only that: the rich(er). and we don’t seem to have any clues how to stop this trend which affects this shxt in every neighborhood all up and down the west coast.


Rufus May 26, 2015 at 3:50 pm

“Saratoga condo owners complain about early morning surfers spoiling their view, the noise of seagulls and stingrays in the water . They demand that the city do something about it.”


Old Hermit Dave May 26, 2015 at 3:58 pm

A Poem By
Cowboy Wordsmith
June, 20, 2013

Old Cowboys, Old Hippies, love Ocean Beach
Because it helps keep memories within reach

Neighborhoods of old houses, family businesses downtown
Only just a few Multinational Corporations hanging around

No Multistory Multinational building where Winston’s is now
Let me help if your curious an might wonder just why an how

July Fourth 2013 marks One Hundred Years
Since WONDERLAND opened in OB to cheers

Had Big Money Guys not liked Balboa Park better
A FLOOD in 1916 make WONDERLAND wetter

Who is to say OB might not today be
San Diego’s little Anaheim by the sea

So all of us Old Cowboys, Old Hippies just have to thank
That 1916 Rainmaker, who helped WONDERLAND tank

I read this @ the OB Street Fair on June 22, 2013
It was on the 9201 Stage on Bacon @ 4pm
The Cactus Jacks strummed a Cowboy Tune
as I read


Geoff Page May 26, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Home prices may be peaking but there is another new problem looming for renters, condo-izing residential areas. People are taking lots with two units and turning them into condos. These can be sold for less money than a full lot home. The problem is that it is removing unitls from the rental market. And who will be buying these? More folks who want a small vacation home here or another, cheaper unit to rent out to vacationers.


iblong May 26, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Where else in San Diego is beachfront living less than $10k/mo? Where else in SoCal?


Bb May 26, 2015 at 5:33 pm

Good – maybe those of us that work hard and make great money in one of Americas best cities will not have to deal the the insane homeless problems in OB anymore. Money brings police attention. I hope more units like this go in to balance out the insane amount of vice that’s propagated and grown in the last 5 years in OB.


Marc Snelling May 27, 2015 at 5:13 am

Homelessness will be less of a problem with $9500/rents? I guess that’s why there are no homeless people in Manhattan? Right. And the wealthy don’t have vices? Unless the police are going to start building affordable housing I don’t see how they are going to change things.

The only way you could say vice has grown in the last 5 years, is if you’ve only lived in OB for five years.


Bb May 28, 2015 at 10:39 am

I’ve lived here for more than 5 years.. And I’m from Manhattan, where we know how to deal with problems and don’t act like they’re a fact of life.


Rogue Five May 27, 2015 at 8:30 am

People that like to brag about how hard they work typically haven’t work hard at all.


Bb May 28, 2015 at 10:41 am

I’m sure I’ve worked harder than you from that coment. Just because people make more money than you is not a reason to deride them as commuting gentrification. Maybe get off the peace pipe and get a better education and opportunities for yourself.


bob dorn May 28, 2015 at 1:55 pm

Stank you.


Geoff Page May 27, 2015 at 9:32 am

First, the homeless problem can be found in every beach community, OB is no different than PB or La Jolla or the beaches in LA. If you were homeless, where would you be in San Diego county, National City? I’m tired of people acting like the problem only exists in OB, it is everywhere.

And, I agree with Mr. Callejon, your impression of OB deteriorating in the last five years is way off base. Remember, there was a recession? OB is fine, better than fine. Where do you live, by the way?


Bb May 28, 2015 at 10:43 am

North OB, and your wrong, you just don’t see the San people and ebb-tide trolls, Newport is not OB, get off the Main Street and see how bad it rally is. The HOT people have told me in the past they drop off overflow in OB they don’t have beds for. I just think if we pay taxes police should actually cite these leaches.

Where do you live? I bet your a fan of OB and not a resident. Idiot.


Geoff Page May 28, 2015 at 10:54 am

I also live in north OB hand have lived in OB for 35 years. I’m familiar with the whole town so I have to disagree with your contention. As for homeless being dropped off in OB, that has been happening to San Diego for many years. Why don’t you explain what HOT is and provide some authority for your claim?

Finally, just because you disagree with someone, there is no need to resort to name-calling. Insults are the last refuge of a small mind.


Rogue Five May 28, 2015 at 2:34 pm

No sense wasting your time on this pompous Manhattanite windbag and all his bluster. He’s a legend only in his own mind.


Geoff Page May 28, 2015 at 2:41 pm

That is actually excellent advice, Rogue Five, and other people have offered that to me as well through the years. Sadly, I’ve never been able to follow it. It’s just that I’ve got a bunch of pins that keep burning holes in my pockets. Thanks though.


rick callejon May 26, 2015 at 7:13 pm

I’ve lived in OB for more than 20 years. To write that the past five years have been “insane” is crazy.


Bb May 28, 2015 at 10:45 am

Well, living over on the south west side by the mansions must be nice, I’ll be over here in the real OB, filled with police helicopters and vice.


Geoff Page May 28, 2015 at 10:59 am

Mr. Callejon will defend himself but I will jump into say that you are mindlessly making assumptions about people you don’t know, he does not live where you have branded him. And, he at least has the courage to use his real name but I guess when all one has to offer is insults, it is safer to hide behind a couple of initials.


bob dorn May 28, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Bb, you’re a lousy trumpet player, ain’t you?


Lori May 26, 2015 at 7:34 pm

Bring on the drum circles and craziness right in view. $9,500 insane and very sad if that is where we r headed.


Bb May 28, 2015 at 10:47 am

Change is scary and can make some people feel out of control and like things are insane. Believe me Manhattan is much better now than the 80s, but people in the 80s must have thought some of the new ways were insane. Nope.. Just progressive.


Lori May 28, 2015 at 3:56 pm

I am not afraid of change. I just don’t want it. I love OB just as it is. If I didn’t like it I would move not wish for it to change.


obchris May 26, 2015 at 8:14 pm

By looking at the number of comments, this is obviously a popular issue with locals. There has been a lot of homes converted to vacation rentals lately, and it’s totally ruining the sense of community !! So sad.


objamie May 27, 2015 at 1:09 am

AirBnb had 300 (unlicensed) vacation rentals or so, IN OB.


Frank Gormlie May 27, 2015 at 9:41 am

According to my unofficial, unscientific study of Mission Beach, so much of the community has been turned into expensive daily and weekly vacation rentals, time-shares and other units out of reach of the common working person, that much of the community has evaporated. Over the decades, I have watched Mission Beach lose its school, its post office, and other community-based facilities.


Jeffeck May 26, 2015 at 9:35 pm

I have to agree to some degree. I admittedly need to understand zoning. I don’t see why you can build a condo or whatever and say it will be residential or rental and then turn around and rent it out like a hotel (by the week) or raise the rent only during peak months.

Why don’t they zone a place that rents by the week different than a place that rents by the month or longer?

Clearly one is for residents and the other is for visitors. That is a spectacular property and if someone can pay $9500 amonth to live there then God bless them (a fool and their money are soon parted) but they should rent 12 months a year. Otherwise call it a hotel or vacation rental and charge TOT and other fees.

Also it should be considered differently by the planning boards when the whole project is approved as either a hotel or a residence. That goes for the folks over on West Pt. Loma too. Dont BS us and tell us one thing and then turn around and do another… There outta be a law!


iblong May 27, 2015 at 8:55 am

Gentrification is your word for “I could never afford that.”


Frank Gormlie May 27, 2015 at 9:37 am

No, gentrification is my word for “most of us could never afford that.”


Geoff Page May 27, 2015 at 9:42 am

“the restoration of run-down urban areas by the middle class (resulting in the displacement of lower-income people)” of

“to change a place from being a poor area to a richer one, by people of a higher social class moving to live there”


Bb May 28, 2015 at 10:49 am

Someone is cleaning up this mess, it must be the conservatives, only they would do something as evil as pump money into an economy.


Mike May 27, 2015 at 2:39 pm

It sounds like we were better off with what we had.
Weren’t the plans brought before the OBPB more than once?


Geoff Page May 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Unfortunately, what you see is all perfectly legal according to our Municipal Code. The project was reviewed and eventually approved by the OBPB. The problem is the usage. There is nothing in the Code to prevent the owners from using them as vacation rentals, which was, I’m sure, the intention all along. Recently, the City has been catching up on these but instead of regulating them more, they just have made sure they pay hotel occupancy taxes. As Frank has said, look at Mission Beach, it is full of these. OB was not a preferred location for these things years ago but it has been “discovered.” Look at the four units to the north next to the Voltaire St. parking lot. Does anyone really think these narrow structures are being built as residences? This is the future of the beachfront, sad to say. The beach community, as it is, will be relegated to the blocks away from the actual beach.


OB Mercy May 27, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Hasn’t anyone thought about what happens when renters come in to this bldg, possibly not knowing anything, or not much about OB, then sees what is going on in Saratoga Park once they’ve rented the place? I remember when I was just a tourist back in the early 80’s here to OB and never really left Newport Ave and pretty much knew nothing about OB’s darker side. Think about it. People with the dough to spend $9500 a month, mostly likely are not from around here, or if they are, they know about OB and what can happen here and are NOT going to spend that ridiculous amount of money to rent here for 9 months. I think it’s not going to be a successful venture. But time will tell.


Geoff Page May 27, 2015 at 5:03 pm

When you say “OB’s darker side,” you make it seem that OB has something that other places do not. All communities have a “dark side,” OB’s is no darker than any other. And your word choice makes it seem that a person leaving Newport Ave. enters the dangerous shadows and that really isn’t the case at all. OB’s dark side, if there is one, is out in the sun sitting on the wall.

Then, you went on to say that folks with that kind of money aren’t from around here but if they are they “know about OB and what can happen here.” What happens here happens everywhere, OB isn’t any worse than other beach communities and is actually safer. Did you know th highest crrime rate is found in Pacific Beach? My guess is that people in the area that do have the money are buying these kinds of units and are the ones renting htem back out because it would take a local to see through the misinformation about OB and truly understand the value of this oceanfront property.


Bb May 28, 2015 at 10:51 am

She’s taking about the drug addicts and stabbings and homeless vice.


Geoff Page May 28, 2015 at 11:03 am

Gee thanks for clarifying that.

And all I said was that it happens everywhere, meaning addicts, stabbings, and homeless vice, OB is not worse than any othe community and that Pacific Beach has a far worse crime rate. I moved to La Jolla in 1977 near Wind and Sea beach. In the first two months, someone stole hundreds of dollars worth of diving gear, my car was stolen twice, and I was stabbed twice recovering it the second time. But, I never conclded that La Jolla was a crime ridden neighborhood. Shit happens everywhere.


obsurfer May 28, 2015 at 1:15 am

I’m pretty sure none of you were born here, by here i mean south of west point loma. ralph west was ;P I was. I’m sure theres a few more. But in reality this town is as transient as they come. Maybe fiercely occupied i guess, and some great people have landed here, my parents among them. Heres an opinion by a 100 percent born on del monte life long local. That building is a dangerous sign. As dangerous as the places that sprouted up way too soon at dog beach, and the places going in around voltaire—the next two are gonna be a doozy. I personally know of locals buying properties and putting up the biggest box they can. I’m not a fan. Unfortunately it seems like money is the prevailing indicator of our future here. And if the past ten years have shown us anything, the money coming in has no regard for our community. I know people not from here up in arms about that joke of a vacation rental on abbot. And they just came here. The fact that it happened is scary, but also a wake up call. I hope there are some community leaders educated enough and stubborn enough to figure out how to stop this nonsense. Craig and Julie Klein maybe I dunno really. That building at catalina and voltaire is even scarier. Worse than pb, more like hillcrest, downtown hillcrest. Anyways. this town has an unstoppable spirit, a grit and determination to do things a certain way, and the most fanatical newcomer can get it and they do. Personally id like to see more hells angels, hippies, maybe local surfers not be such yuppies. lol. not become sup riding leash wearing hypocrites haha. But i think realistically these places will sprout up more and more. We need some strong community leaders to steer this pirate ship without being sentimental marshmallow tossers. People with vision and stubborn will and the ability to fight back. Who are those people???


Geoff Page May 28, 2015 at 9:57 am

You know, obsurfer, it’s folks like you that I feel the most sorry for. The town you grew up in has changed and will continue to change until it becomes something different from what you grew up with. There are cities and towns all over this country that remain the same year after year, which is comforting to those who live there. California in general is a place where change has always been epidemic. My two kids are natives, born here and schooled in the Poit Loma schools, I would have loved to grow up like they have. But, unfortunately, they are witnessing hte same thing. A lot of good people are trying to stop, slow down, or modify what is happening but it is very hard to do against the force of money. The OB Planning Board is trying, if you aren’t aware of their efforts, you should attend a meeting and talk to those folks. It would be educational.

But, what do you have against stand up paddleboarders, most of them are just old guys trying to keep up with you, it is still surfing after all, eh?


Bb May 28, 2015 at 10:54 am

Progress is not scary, especially in a place that so few ‘locals’ seem to exist. On with the progress to a better OB!


Geoff Page May 28, 2015 at 11:08 am

Funny, none of my dictionaries define progress as change. We were discussing change. And what leads you to the conclusion that few locals seem to exist? Oh, you meant “natives,” sorry I guess I have trouble understanding your choice of words.


obsurfer May 31, 2015 at 7:40 am

bb you must have no clue. theres so many life long locals here. I agree with you on to a better ob. But a better ob is not more vacation rentals. air bnbs. higher rents. condominium conversions. and definitely not higher density. I actually have so much respect for people who move here and are super protective. They get it. I think theres an emerging group of people who will rally against vacay rentals, air bnb, gentrification. I think in 20 years we’ll look back on the next ten years and be proud of our community and the people who fight for it. And greedy people will all be saying too bad. I hope.


obsurfer May 31, 2015 at 7:28 am

actually theres only a rare few stand up guys i don’t like, one is this pretty muscular, extremely aggressive Brazilian guy. he pretty much epitomizes the stereotypical sup mentality. he paddles out, past the lineup, past the guys waiting, then paddles strait into and through those same people to take the first good wave that comes in, and he does it over and over again. I am not about confrontation but I always call him out. he gets pretty upset, apparently he thinks he gets any and every wave he’d like. I also have surfed some lower cliffs reefs with a certain local who will try to do the same thing, they paddle past the crowd, the when a wave pops up they paddle full speed for the first wave they want, paddle surfers pretty much just have to stroke for their lives to get out of the way…its those guys, don’t wait their turn, make the lineup dangerous. Thats the sup element I really do not like. But who cares right. I try my best to interfere, I’ve been hit with paddles, i’ve gone nuclear, it really doesn’t matter to them. They actual revel in their obvious disrespect for all the other surfers and the lineups the infect. Thats my only point. Probably only a handful of guys like that here in town, but we get plenty of visitors. whatever. Its a free country.


Geoff Page June 1, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Yea, what you’ve described is an all too common occurrence. You should try being and older guy in that same situation, it gets harder every year to get waves because of age and the increased crowds. I decided to go for an SUP to see if I could get a bit of advantage to offset the disadvantage of my age. So far, that hasn’t paid out. My first time at North Garbage, I wrenched my knee so badly I was out of the water completely for five months. I’ve gone back to it since and have perfected the art of falling down whether I’m paddling, trying to surf a wave or just standing still. I think I may have broken the record for the number of falls in one session. One day, I hope to surf past you on my SUP and have you cuss me out, then I’ll feel like an SUP success. Surf hogs are a sad fact of life…


obsurfer June 1, 2015 at 11:58 pm

:P Geoff best to you. After all we all need to laugh a little at ourselves and others. Like i said its a free country. Yelling never helps. I make it a point not to go there. It happened once or twice. But thats the exact opposite of why i get in the water in the first places so out of respect for myself and others i try to keep the lips zipped! Everyone should enjoy themselves, just not at others expense. If you can help it ;P


obsurfer May 31, 2015 at 7:55 am

geoff thanks. the sad fact is you can’t stop starbucks, you can’t stop a wings, you can’t stop that other horrible mission beach-like tourist shop. But in reality they only hold so much of our main street. I think there is more of our original town intact than not. Thats pretty encouraging. But these new big mixed used buildings ar bad sauce.

Funny how this week, first week of the official summer holiday, the police are like a small army down there. Love those guys. The effect is pretty obvious. Guessing we won’t hear about stabbings much more. Also know their spreading out into the side streets flushing out campers, trolls, and urchins. About time.


J May 29, 2015 at 1:08 am

I am a certified hater of the four Stebbens buildings, but Veer I actually like. I wanted to dislike it with the alley issue, but it is just a beautiful looking complex and it does not seem oversized and “out of place” with all the grass and landscaping around it.

Yeah they are gouging tourists for the best units in the peak summer season, but otherwise the rents seem pretty reasonable. See here:

2/2.5 for 3K a month and 3/3 for 4200/mo. For the latter, that’s $1400 a person for a brand new beachfront building, with parking, and every bedroom with its own bath.

I think the World Oil complex is looking promising too. They have Evo vegan fast food as a tenant when they open. I love that place’s Banker’s Hill location and I am not even vegan. And the offices on the 2nd floor are badly needed so we are less a commuting bedroom community and more people can live here and walk to work. Once it is done, I bet that 25 people are more will work there. And for the people who do drive, it will have more than 20 spaces.


obsurfer May 31, 2015 at 7:46 am

j i hear you, but about that world oil building…it permanently changes the ob entry way. It condenses the view corridors, its looks like a mini mall from anywhere america xyz. As for the jobs thats a good point. But that building is going to change that intersection so much, theres already shell and jack in the box there now that box. Its an obvious corporate intrusion on to some of us sacred ground, and it will be there longer than we are around. Its pretty ugly. The good news is it will help solidify and establish voltaire as a main street. I have high hopes for voltaire. But that building is unfortunate. one more nail in a coffin none of us will acknowledge.


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